For a moment I watched the blue sky

on my short walk to the Anderson Library,

a favorite place to be in peace and quiet.

"Information should be free" Anderson had said,

a generous woman who would have been

the first to say that all are equally welcome

and each entitled to any empty chair.


The clean, clear light through giant windows.

Walls of books that give for years the greatest

of all wealth power to the poor who seek

knowledge of the paths that take one forward,

or upward.

Better facts, better life.


Finding a scientific and a newsy spewsy mag,

I took a seat at a round table for reference,

in reference to the world, in reference to me,

in reference to what new taste of a learned thing

might brighten the empty day of a lonely man.


Across the long room, near a shaded corner,

there she was, in a bright red vest, gray slacks

and a navy jacket that brought my eyes to her

whitening blonde hair, the serious face but

with a mild curve of smile for everyone.

Her head oddly tilted, the newspaper sagging

a bit to one side was that the bad news?

She would be in it soon, so dignified.

A little clatter and non-whispering in

the safest place where it is right to be quiet.

A man and a woman in the welcome bright yellow

of those who joined the sect of first responders.

Clara Madison Anderson lifted gently onto her chariot.


My mind sent a signal to applaud, but

it didn't reach my hands.


Somebody said "Careful."

My eyes teared up.

Time passed, the bright windows dusky blue.

A gentle teenager approached me and said,

"We're closing now."


John L. Manimas, June, 2022

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